One of the most mind-blowing “guns” ever made has to be the M65 Atomic Cannon.
Let the cleavage guide us on a learning adventure; ultimately leading to the question of this nuclear shell firing weapon’s nickname…
…Who was “Atomic Annie”?
Back in the post-WWII year of 1950, America began developing the M65 for a Cold War show of strength at Dwight D. Eisenhower’s inaugural Presidential parade in Jan. of 1953.
Submitted by iCHIVE user BoulderChive (+100 Points)
3-years later, Atomic Annie was ready to roll-out in a big way.
By converting two tractors into movers, the massive 38.5-foot long gun barrel was carried through the streets to show the former USSR what we had a’ waiting for them.
(Turning corners at 90-degree angles much like a large dual steering wheel Fire Truck)
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At 84-ft in length and 28-ft in width, this 83-ton beast slowly wound it’s way to the record-books:
Largest road-mobile artillery weapon every produced by the U.S. Military.
Now that the M65 could get from A-to-B on paved roads at a top speed of 35-mph, it was time to “FIRE the weapon”.
In May of 1953, troops slowly loaded the 240mm shell into place.
For obvious reasons, they took their time while moving the W9 nuke into the cannon’s barrel.
The test’s live-fire code name was “Grable”, to which the G simply stood for “gun” because the nuclear warhead was being shot from a gun-type fission weapon.
The test took place at the Nevada Test Site (out-side of Las Vegas).
Time to measure the effects of Atomic Annie’s blast…oh yeah, and find-out if firing a nuke through a huge recoilless smooth-bore gun was a good or REALLY Bad Idea?
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At 8:30 a.m. on the 25th of May, they had their answer.
Here’s an interesting thing to notice.
If you watch the following GIF closely, you’ll see a slight jump cut from the weapon firing the shell to just before the explosion of the nuke. Why?
Because the flight time of the shell from beginning boom to BIG BOOM took 19-seconds.
Further more, using high-speed cameras the testers learned a very interesting fact about the weapon.
Submitted by iCHIVE user Whitebird (+100 Points)
The power of the nuke measured in a 15-kilotons which is around the same as the first nuke dropped in WW2…but it was much more powerful…ok, why part II.
Basically TWO shockwaves were created.
When the air-burst explosion happened at a planned 524-ft above ground…a first blast wave pushed out from the shell as the boom reflected off the ground AND the second nuclear blast wave followed microseconds after.
Meaning, the first wave pushed-in with additional devastation coming in from the “real” blast wave that was pushing the first wave forward.
Confusing, I know.
Simplified a dumb-dumbs like myself, the pressures of the 2 waves created additional heat. In addition, the two waves created additional drag on the targets. So, BOOBs.
In total, 20 of these cannons were created and sent off to locations in Europe and Korea.
To avoid detection, the Army shifted the M65’s locations to avoid detection of former-USSR’s spying eyes in the air.
Submitted by iCHIVE user Msn3p (+100 Points)
Now for the real question: who was “Atomic Annie”?
Get to it ol’ Ricky…
It’s not a mean wife of the engineers. Nope, it came from a feared Nazi weapon during WW2 known as “Anzio Annie”.
Before D-Day, America was caught-up in some of the deadliest fighting imaginable. It took place in the mountains of Italy. There our brave boots came under-fire from Germany’s railway driven “K5 gun”.
Not just one, but 2 were put in place with pre-planned targets for the American’s landing locations as they dropped into Italy.
Learning at its finest, dare I say highest level.
There you have it. “Atomic Annie” was named in the memory of some of WW2’s deadliest battles that are being lost to history because of the success of our D-Day invasion.
Hope ya’ll enjoyed the eye-candy…and, shoot, maybe ya learned something along the way.
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